Jenny Lewis is an American musician who has been known to act from time to time. She tends to be known because of two music projects. One, Lewis has released four studio albums with the indie band Rilo Kiley.
Two, Lewis has released four studio albums as a solo artist. On top of these releases, she has been a member of three other acts, meaning she has had a varied musical career. This makes it hard to compare Lewis’s body of work. Still, some of her songs have stood out more than others.
Here is our opinion of the ten best Jenny Lewis songs ever released:
10. “You Are What You Love”
“You Are What You Love” comes from Lewis’s first solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, the product of a collaboration with the Watson Twins. It has the kind of title that makes people wonder. However, the title’s meaning becomes clear in an instant when interested individuals hear the immediate follow-up, “and not what loves you back.”
The couplet is used to devastating effect, so much so that it renders this song painful in its openness. Small wonder “You Are What You Love” was chosen as Rabbit Fur Coat’s second single.
9. “Just One of the Guys”
Meanwhile, “Just One of the Guys” is a somewhat more recent song from Lewis’s third studio album, The Voyager. Supposedly, the studio album came into existence because of a difficult period in her life caused by the breakup of Rilo Kiley and other personal issues.
As such, it makes sense that “Just One of the Guys” took inspiration from Lewis’s struggles with the expectations placed upon women. There are good reasons why it has a dreamy sound, even though its lyrics drip disappointment.
8. “Under the Blacklight”
“Under the Blacklight” was the title track of Rilo Kiley’s final studio album. It is an excellent fit for this role, being bleak while still managing to lull the senses. Something perfect for a studio album all about those striving but struggling to seize a piece of Los Angeles’s glamor for themselves.
7. “My Slumbering Heart”
“My Slumbering Heart” came from Rilo Kiley’s second studio album, The Execution of All Things. The release is famous for being more experimental than its predecessor. Moreover, it had an upbeat sound, even though its lyrics tended towards the darker end of things.
A combination that made for a wonderful sense of dissonance. This song is an excellent representative of its cohort. Its lyrics never quite scream out what is going on. Even so, there is a reason why interested individuals might feel a mounting sense of unease upon paying attention to them.
6. “Portions For Foxes”
Interested individuals should know “Portions For Foxes” came out on Rilo Kiley’s third studio album, More Adventurous. The song tries to move toward the studio album’s name by boasting a sense of forced cheer.
However, its darker side shows because the viewpoint character knows well that her relationship doesn’t have good prospects for the long run. For that matter, “Portions For Foxes” is a rather ominous title in its own right. It refers to a line from the Bible, a more poetic way of saying that someone will be killed before being left as carrion for the beasts.
We tend not to associate foxes with such things, but that is a product of our distance from the natural world. They are opportunistic feeders that will scavenge when the chance comes up.
Moreover, our predecessors didn’t like them very much because they could tear through smaller livestock at a horrific rate when opportunities presented themselves.
5. “Does He Love You?”
“Does He Love You?” is a narrative-driven song from More Adventurous. In it, a woman converses with a friend who feels anxious about her marriage because her husband has become more distant. The punch comes at the end when the woman reveals she is having an affair with her friend’s husband, though she knows nothing more will ever come of it.
4. “Pictures of Success”
Rilo Kiley started with an EP. Subsequently, it released its first studio album, Take Offs and Landings. “Pictures of Success” isn’t as honed as Lewis’s later songs because it comes from a much earlier point in her career. Despite this, it holds up surprisingly well, thus enabling it to claim a position on this list.
3. “The Big Guns”
This is another song from Rabbit Fur Coat. It is one of those songs with extra-interpretable lyrics. Moreover, it is enjoyable enough to invite it. Many people interpret “The Big Guns” as directed against religion in some way, though their exact reading of that criticism sees considerable variation.
For instance, some believe it expresses opposition to religious extremism. Meanwhile, others think it shows irritation at the idea of wrongdoers being able to secure forgiveness from religion even though the scars of their wrongdoing remain evident. On top of these, some think “The Big Guns” is more about personal relationships than anything religious.
2. “The Execution of All Things”
Unsurprisingly, “The Execution of All Things” was the title track of the studio album of the same name. It is about as dark as songs get, though it is sung with sufficient charisma that this never overshadows the music itself. That said, some people don’t think “The Execution of All Things” is as literal as its lyrics suggest. Instead, they think it might be an expression of deep-rooted frustration at something that has struck the viewpoint character to the core.
1. “More Adventurous”
“More Adventurous” would be one more title track. It is very reminiscent of its ultimate source of inspiration, which is a line from a book of poetry called Meditations in an Emergency.
The song makes it clear that the viewpoint character continues to long for love. Even so, she is marked by her experiences, meaning she hasn’t escaped unscathed from her various encounters. It is easy to feel mixed sympathy for her suffering and respect for her perseverance.
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